Roger Goodell reaffirmed the league’s stance that the Oakland Raiders did not violate the Rooney Rule in the hiring of Jon Gruden as coach during the commissioner's state-of-the-NFL appearance Wednesday.
In Minneapolis ahead of Sunday's Super Bowl, Goodell also spoke on the Raiders' giving up another home game to play host in an international game, this time in London on Oct. 14 against the Seattle Seahawks.
“Let me say that there was a full investigation with that and our staff,” Goodell said of allegations that the Raiders didn't follow the Rooney Rule. “We checked facts. ... We talked to everyone in the situation and made sure they were compliant.”
Raiders owner Mark Davis said he thought Gruden was “all-in” on Christmas Eve, a week before the team fired Jack Del Rio. But with Gruden not officially signing his contract until Jan. 9, the Raiders in the interim interviewed two minority candidates: former Oakland tight-ends coach Bobby Johnson and USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin.
With Oakland giving up a home game for the fourth time in five seasons -- the Raiders were the “home” team in London in 2014 and in Mexico City in 2016 and 2017 -- it is expected that relocating teams will play a home game off-site. The Los Angeles Rams and Chargers, who will not move into their new shared stadium in Inglewood, California, until 2020, are in similar situations for the 2018 season. The Rams will play host to the Kansas City Chiefs in Mexico City, and the Chargers will play host to the Tennessee Titans in London.
The Raiders are set to move to Las Vegas by 2020.
“Well, it's part of what we all agreed to as 32 clubs, which is what dictates that we want to continue to share our games with fans on a global basis,” Goodell said. “Clubs have been very anxious to do that. I think in the UK, at the end of this season, I think we'll have had 30 of the 32 teams have played there, and I think that is terrific for our game. I think it's terrific for our clubs, and I think it's great for the fans.
"So, yes, that comes with sacrificing, from time to time, home games. Yes, the Raiders have had more international games recently. That's a fact and is correct. It's true that we have teams in transition from temporary stadiums to long-term facilities. We do the best of balancing that. The Raiders are an attractive team globally, and we know how passionate the fans are there in Oakland. We want to deliver that as much as possible, but we also want to expand our game globally.”